Apple beats Samsung and AT&T surprisingly trumps T-Mobile in American customer satisfaction

Apple beats Samsung and AT&T surprisingly trumps T-Mobile in American customer satisfaction
While sales numbers and profits are obviously the best ways to objectively evaluate the success of a smartphone manufacturer and wireless service providers generally like to highlight their strength and industry supremacy through subscriber figures and various network performance reports, customer satisfaction is also an incredibly important measure of a company's status in both these markets.

Of course, determining just how pleased end users are with such products and services is not an easy thing to do (especially if you want to stay as impartial as possible), but that's where the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) comes in.

This has been a reliable and unbiased national economic indicator for no less than 25 years, and for its latest annual study, nearly 16,000 interviews were conducted with randomly selected customers across the nation between April 2022 and March 2023. The results that interest us here at PhoneArena the most are as follows:

Apple and 5G rule, Motorola and 4G drool

Given how beloved iPhones have been in the US for more than a decade, you probably won't be surprised to know that Apple holds the customer satisfaction top spot for 2023 among all cell phone manufacturers.

But if you're not familiar with past ACSI reports, it might be a little unexpected to hear that Samsung actually tied Apple for first place last year, now sitting in the silver medal position with just one point behind the trophy holder.

In other words, the hierarchy could change at any moment and Apple's supremacy in this particular field is by no means indisputable, a fact further highlighted by the current tied scores of the two top dogs in the 5G phone category.

Google sits narrowly behind Apple and Samsung on both the general phone and 5G podiums, while Motorola is a pretty distant fourth placer with declining satisfaction scores. 

Leaving brands aside, it's interesting (and completely unsurprising) to note that people are a lot more pleased with what they're getting from their 5G-capable handsets than non-5G phones, which strongly suggests US 5G networks are maturing and making an increasingly noticeable real-world difference for more and more users.

AT&T is the overall AND the network quality champion

Ranked behind both of its arch-rivals last year, AT&T has somehow managed to leapfrog T-Mobile and Verizon after jumping from an ACSI result of 72 to 75 points (on a 100 scale). That's an especially notable surge if you consider that T-Mobile and Verizon's scores are completely unchanged compared to 2022, at 74 and 73 respectively, although the gaps between the top three carriers are clearly small enough to allow for other leadership changes in the near future.

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In addition to overall customer satisfaction, this new study also measures call quality and call reliability perception (in one score) and network coverage and data speed through users' eyes (in another), with AT&T remarkably topping both charts alongside Verizon at 80 points each and ahead of T-Mobile's 78 tally.

Technically, however, AT&T is not actually the US carrier with the highest customer satisfaction numbers, as that honor goes to Consumer Cellular when you add mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) into the equation.

Consumer Cellular's unrivaled 82 ACSI score is followed by Mint Mobile's 79, Straight Talk's 77, and Google Fi's 76 in the value MVNO category, while Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile lead the "full-service" MVNO ranks with 76 points apiece.

The final interesting part of this latest ACSI report focuses on how satisfied wireless customers currently are with their operators based on their monthly spending, and somewhat surprisingly, the $26 to $50 plan category produces higher scores than the $251 to $500 a month bracket, while $500+ spenders are the most satisfied overall.

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